Have you seen the Long-nosed Bandicoot?

Did you know that the Whittlesea municipality supports habitat for Long-nosed Bandicoots? This medium-sized nocturnal marsupial (about the size of a rabbit) has grey-brown fur, a short thin tail, pointy ears, and as the name suggests, a long nose.

 

You may never see this shy species but their presence may be detected through characteristic foraging signs- small cone-shaped holes in bushland and sometimes lawns and gardens. These holes are dug with the front feet and the snout is used to reach in and detect insects and other small invertebrate prey and hypogeal fungi.

Long-nosed Bandicoots were once widespread and common in forests, woodlands, and heaths of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria but their range and distribution has greatly reduced and in some areas they are now locally extinct.

This reduction in population abundance is occurring despite their capacity for reproduction (females can produce up to four litters per year and have a gestation period of only 12.5 days, one of the shortest known of any mammal), due to numerous threatening processes including, habitat loss and fragmentation, introduced predators (foxes, cats, and dogs), road kill, wildfires and inappropriate burning regimes. The Victorian population is considered to have declined but it does not have threatened species classification, most likely due to insufficient data.

Long-nosed bandicoots rely on a mosaic of vegetation, using open areas for foraging at night and requiring dense understorey vegetation for nesting during the day. The nest is usually made from grasses and other plant material in shallow depressions on the ground amongst thick vegetation. Maintaining areas of low dense understorey cover is critical for their survival.

Whittlesea has very few records of this species and the state-wide flora and fauna database (the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas) lists only seven records of this species between 1971 and 2013.

Long-nosed Bandicoot VBA records
The seven records of the Long-nosed Bandicoot in Whittlesea

 

Foraging signs have been observed recently in our municipality by Council staff and recent footage was captured by a Kinglake West resident- click here to view the footage.

You can help conserve this species and other native fauna by keeping your pets confined to your domestic area, particularly at night, and by not allowing them to roam into areas of potential habitat. If you’re one of the lucky residents that have them within your property, you could consider setting aside areas that provide habitat for native wildlife and establishing a separate area for your pets.  Undertaking integrated pest animal control (including foxes) across the landscape will also benefit this species and many other wildlife species.

If you see this species (live or dead animals) or indirect signs of its presence, please report the sightings (including the location description with GIS coordinates if possible, date and any other notes) to Ruth Marr, Council’s Biodiversity Planner, on 9217 2025 or ruth.marr@whittlesea.vic.gov.au. Records of this species can be submitted on your behalf to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas.

Upcoming Events: July/August

There’s something for everyone! See below link to four upcoming events in July/ August.

Sunday 30 July-  National Tree Day: A great day out for the whole family to celebrate National Tree Day. Click here for more details.

Sunday 6 August-   FREE Pest Animal Control Workshop: Hosted by the Friends of Toorourrong, join as at Toorourrong Reservoir Park to learn more about the impacts and management of feral animals. Click here for more information and details to register.

Tuesday 15 August-   Eden Park Bushfire Mitigation Plan: A Stakeholder Engagement Workshop to help shape the Plan by building upon local knowledge, click here for more information and details on how to register your interest.

Saturday 26 August-   The Annual Agribusiness Dinner. An event not to be missed, click on the below Eventbrite link to purchase your ticket or click here for the flyer.

Eventbrite: Agribusiness Dinner

 

 

Rabbit Virus Release: What you should know

This week, the release of the new RHDV1 K5 virus will be rolled out at 700 sites across the country. You can find all you need to know about the history, release and monitoring of the virus here, but these are some key summary points:

  • The release of this virus has been a decade in the making and studies have shown no off-target impacts to other fauna species.
  • Both European Rabbits and European Brown Hares are susceptible.
  • The virus is delivered by baiting with individuals displaying flu-like symptoms (temperature and lethargy) within 2-3 days of consumption. Death occurs quickly, between 6 and 12 hours after symptoms are first displayed.
  • While domestic and farmed rabbits are susceptible to this strain, a vaccine is available and owners should make contact with their local vet for more information.
  • Previous studies have shown that a reduction in rabbit numbers can result in a simultaneous reduction in fox and feral cat numbers. Good news for our local native wildlife!